It is very exciting to see little paws walking around the house, and when momma dog is pregnant, we as the owner can’t wait to see how her little puppies will look like.
Will there be spots, will all the puppies have the same color? These and many other questions might go through your head once you realize that your mother dog is pregnant.
The mother dog will normally carry the puppies in her womb for an average of 63 weeks and a maximum of 65 weeks.
During this time all we can do is make sure that she is comfortable and that she has a fixed place to stay once she is ready to give birth.
But another question might you may ask is for how long the mother dog can be away or not with her children.
How long can a mother dog be away from her puppies?
For the first 4 weeks, the mother dog can only leave her puppies for a very short time. In the first week, the puppies need to be fed every 2 hours. By the third week, the mother might start to keep her distance from her babies more and more to teach them to be independent. In the fourth week, the puppies can stay away from the mother dog for an extended time. This is also usually the week when the milk production of the mother slows down. But before the puppies can stay away from their mother for good, they need to be healthy enough to fight any sickness or infections themselves. The best time to separate the puppies from their mother for good is between 8-12 weeks.
What happens after the dog gives birth?
After the female dog gives birth to her cute puppies she will start to work non-stop and will focus on taking care of her little ones.
Her motherhood will start by cleaning the puppies and she will be making sure their bottoms are clean by licking them once they poop or pee.
The first week
The first week of her babies is crucial. The newborn pups will need to be kept warm all the time and need to be fed every 2 hours. This is why the mother dog needs to always stay by her babies.
They will snuggle each other near their mother to be kept warm. The optimal temperature for them to stay warm is between 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (29-32 degrees Celsius).
This will be the temperature for the 1st 5 days and then little by little you can turn down the temperature to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) till the 10th day. Then you can adjust it until it reaches 75 degrees (24 degrees Celsius) by the end of their 4th week.
The mother dog can become aggressive. Like it or not, there are some mommas that growl at their owner even if you just want to check or touch her babies.
For her, this kind of gesture is a sign of danger to her little ones. Some mother dogs show this kind of behavior also with other pets inside the house.
Just like humans, the puppies will also need food to survive.
If there is a mother present, the mother will need to feed them and this will take most of her energy and calories.
Providing enough nutrients by feeding the mother multiple servings of quality dog food a day is key during and after pregnancy.
To ensure that all of the puppies are receiving enough nutrients, we will need to support the mother dog by keeping an eye on the puppies.
This way if there is any underfed puppy we can latch it to the fullest nipple.
We also need to closely monitor any signs such as lots of crying. This might be a sign that some of the puppies need more food and need help latching.
Before they can start being away from their mother, the puppies need to be healthy to fight any sickness or infections.
The mother also needs to be away from her babies from time to time.
For the first 4 weeks, the mother dog can only leave her puppies for a very short time.
There may be moments that she will step away just for a few minutes to relieve herself.
Although, if she needs to be away more than a few minutes, for example, to visit the veterinarian, take a bath, or go for a walk, there are certain things that humans need to cover instead of the mother dog.
What to do if the mother dog is not with her puppies
If the mother dog is away, we as humans may need to do some or all of the following tasks:
- Bottle feed – mix a milk formula with warm water based on the manufacturer’s instruction and feed it to the crying puppy until he stops crying indicating that he is already full.
- Taking care of poop – after feeding them we need to start by picking up the first puppy that was fed and since they are not able to relieve on their own we will need to help them do it just like how their momma does it. Get a warm, moist washcloth, and gently rub it to their bottom, copying how their mother licks their bottom to stimulate bowel movement.
- Keeping them warm and cozy – we can use newspaper, clothes, towels, heating pad set at the right temperature, for them to snuggle and get comfortable while she is away.
By the third week, the mother might start to keep her distance from her babies more and more to teach them to be independent.
Then in the fourth week, the puppies can stay away from the mother dog for good. This is also usually the week when the milk production of the mother slows down.
This causes stress to the mother and babies for the reason that the puppies usually follow and still try to feed on their mother’s nipples. Although some of the puppies might try to taste their mother’s food.
Since the mother dog looks after the puppies’ health and takes care of their hygiene. Once they are away from the mother, we as the owner need to take the responsibility of looking after these precious puppies.
They are still prone to sickness and infection. They are prone to fleas and parasites. Consulting a veterinarian on how to properly take care of newborn puppies will be the best way in ensuring that we are providing them the right care and products.
How the mother dog’s actions can vary since they have different personalities, some mothers do not want to nurse their puppies, if this is the case then, it will be best to seek advice from a veterinarian or check our website for this topic.